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Abela: The Girl Who Saw Lions by Berlie…

Abela: The Girl Who Saw Lions (2007)

by Berlie Doherty

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A poignant, moving story about a young African orphan. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
How much reality is too much reality? In “The Girl who Saw Lion” Berlie Doherty attempts to write a novel about Abela, an African child who is left orphaned and unprotected. In the novel she must quickly cope with the fact that her father has died, her mother is dying from aides and her baby sister is dying as well. The society she lives in, and the culture that surrounds her, is unable to provide any support to her. In fact her own family takes advantage of her desperate situation and she is truly alone in a hostile world. Eventually she becomes property of the state where she is adopted and united to a single parent run household. Here Adela finds the love and support needed to recapture a childhood lost, and she once again transitions into a member of the family with a “new” sister Rose and a “new” mother. I would recommend this book to families who are in the process of adopting international children, or to adults who want to bring social awareness to young children about the realities of foster children. Certainly, young minds can read the book but it would be ideal if they were given the social context of the main idea of the story. Some children become refugees and lose their families, and some world organizations work through adoptions to find suitable homes where these children may find new families who can love and support them.
Ages 5th grade and Up ( )
1 vote ElenaEstrada | Nov 12, 2011 |
This is a story about 2 young girls. The first young girl is Abela and her parents have both died. Her mother was dying of AIDS. She tries to save her mother but no matter what she does she can’t save her mother. Her uncle illegally gets her into England and she is forced to live in seclusion. She is eventually rescued and placed is put into foster care.

The second girl, named Rosa is an only child, who feels betrayed when her mother wants to adopt another child.
Abela remains strong just as she had promised her mother she would, while she waits for a family of her own. Rosa comes to understand why her mother wants to adopt another child. Even though Abela’s been treated very badly, the two girls come together with a shared heritage and become a family.

This book deals with the topic of AIDS and I believe that it would a book that as a teacher I should send a note with a review of the book on in and require a parental consent before allowing a student to read it. This book should probably not be introduced in to the literature program until in 6th grade and the students have had their Sex Education Class. This book does not specifically go into how the mother contacted AIDS but it could still be controversial. The class could discuss the effects of aids on the human body and what it would take to become a citizen of another country. Also this could be used in a geography session by locating the places talked about in the story on the maps. This was a very good book.
  cindylansdale | Jun 14, 2010 |
After Abela has lost many of her family members in Africa to disease; her Uncle Thomas creates a scheme to get both of them a passport to England. Once Abela makes it to England she faces a world full of harsh adventures. By the end of the book she is granted true residence and becomes a member of Jen Warren and her half Tanzanian 13 year old daughter Rosa’s family.

I feel that this book is written in the perfect point of view of a child who is in the social services system. I also liked how it addressed the HIV/AIDS epidemic of Africa.

Extension Ideas
1. Discuss the process it takes to become a USA citizen.
2. Discuss what AIDS is, what it does to your body, and how you can contract it from a person who has AIDS. ( )
  kb143317 | Mar 17, 2010 |
This novel tells the story of two girls with very different lives. Abela lives in Tanzania on the continent of Africa, and is dealing with the death of her mother and baby sister from AIDS. Abela’s uncle has recently been kicked out of London for being there illegally, and he comes up with a plan to return that involves Abela possibly being sold as a domestic servant.

Rosa lives in a suburb of London with her mother, who is considering adopting another child. The thought of sharing her mother, her home, and her life with another child who is a stranger makes Rosa very uncomfortable.

This book sensitively and honestly deals with some tough subject matters, but the intertwining of Abela’s and Rosa’s lives makes for a positive and uplifting story. ( )
1 vote katec9999 | Jul 21, 2009 |
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In alternating voices, thirteen-year-old Rosa and her mother are trying to adopt a Tanzanian child in England, while in Tanzania, nine-year-old Abela watches her family die and her uncle illegally sends her to England, in the hopes of selling her.

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